Yes, you can ferry to the towns and you will. But, it's not the same as being in this gorgeous mahogany boat and getting up close to the shoreline to see the villas and learn about them. However, pulling up to Villa Balbianello and entering through that regal gate is the best part about the tour! A guided tour is required to see inside the villa and this is all part of the tour with Bellagio Water Taxi's. Luca and his Australian wife are wonderful guides and I might add that she sits on the dock in Bellagio and is a wealth of information about the area! We made our reservations there with her and they sell out quickly so make this you first order of business in Bellagio and you won't be sorry.